Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

China’s annual one-day online shopping frenzy shatters records again

QR codes being produced ahead of the Singles Day shopping festival in Wenzhou China on Oct 24 QR codes being produced ahead of the Singles Day shopping festival in Wenzhou China on Oct 24
| 12 November, 2018, 06:59

By the 1 hour and 47 minute mark, that number had increased tenfold.

No, it's not what you would think at first, it is not a celebration of single life, kind-of an anti-Valentines Day but more a festival of online shopping.

This year's China's Singles' Day e-commerce shopping frenzy has shattered records.

This is huge for the e-commerce platform, and it had racked in over $1 billion in just a minute and 25 seconds.

The spending binge has for years eclipsed Cyber Monday in the US for online purchases made on a single day.

Just before 4 p.m. today in China, the sales reached 168.2 billion yuan ($24.2 billion) - surpassing the total purchases from last year's Singles Day, according to figures posted online by Alibaba Group.

The spending binge on items including iPhones, furniture and milk powder has for years eclipsed Cyber Monday in the USA for online purchases made on a single day.

New Zealand was the ninth-best performing country for sales on Singles' Day, up from 14th place in 2017, and ranked out of 230 countries and regions.


Although retail sales in China have been steady, the outlook is uncertain as the economy slows and concerns rise over the impact of the trade war with the United States.

The explosive start to Singles' Day comes as little surprise despite some recent shakiness in the Chinese economy.

Chinese e-commerce platforms have come under fire in the past for peddling low-quality and counterfeit items. The current chief executive will take over as schairman next year, Alibaba announced in September. Tech companies are antsy about the government's more interventionist attitude toward big business.

"People are swept up in the festivities", Hong said in a phone interview. Pinduoduo Inc., which is backed by archrival Tencent Holdings Ltd., and other smaller platforms are gaining traction with consumers and other companies have latched on to making 11 November a key promotional event with discounts on the day.

Singles Day was chosen by Zhang to host the event because he thought it'd reduce feelings of being alone if lonely hearts can enjoy buying themselves great stuff online.

Analysts say that despite continued strong growth, sales are likely to be hit by economic headwinds and new competition from competing sales events.

"With an increasing number of promotion events a year, consumers no longer feel that Double 11 is the only opportunity to get good bargains", said Pedro Yip, partner at consulting firm Oliver Wyman.

The opening of 11.11 global shopping event was enlivened by performances featuring Mariah Carey, Cirque du Soleil and many more.

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